After months of juggling our (mostly my) busy American schedules, I finally got to visit my friends from church, an immigrant family from Burundi. They treated me to a wonderful lunch of African foods. As the guest, I was served everything first, including an appetizer of chapali (I don't know how to spell any of these words), which is like fresh pita bread, and chai, which is mostly milk but wonderfully spiced.
For the meal, we had ugali, which is like bread dough made from cassava, small fish mixed with onions (like marinated sardines) and a beef dish. All of the above is eaten with fingers, even the stew-like beef, but you can use the ugali to sop up the yummy beef sauce. We broke out the forks for spaghetti, beans and something like potato salad. They told me I eat little, and heaped a little more on my plate! It was all good.
They have a TV and we watched a movie the rest of the rainy afternoon, their five children cuddled up on the couches. I wonder how TV has affected them. They have all these commercials and probably some violent shows thrown at them. But the cool thing is, the children's mouths drop open and one hides her face when the bad guys with kryptonite start kicking Superman around. And then we all cheer when he gets better. They still feel for the people on TV, whether superheroes or people on the news.
I gave the children a ride back to church for youth and they asked me all kinds of questions. I've known this family for a year, but this is the most we've talked. I'm very proud of how much English they've learned. But my Swahili needs a lot of work!
It was an awesome day.